Croatia - September 2013 - itinerary help!!!
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Jan 14, 2013 10:52 AM Last Post By: TheGoodliffe
Oct 20, 2012 1:46 PM
Croatia - September 2013 - itinerary help!!!Hi all, my boyfriend and I are looking to travel to Croatia next year and spend 2 weeks there, please help us out with some suggestions, we would like to do it on a budget (as most people are doing), camping is high on the agenda.
We would like to spend a decent amount of time in the Plitvice Park, walking and taking in the sights, I have seen there is a campsite close to the entrance, is it safe to leave your pack there during the day, obviously taking valuables in our day packs,
Nightlife is not our main concern, we want to explore and see the sights.
Please help! :)
Oct 21, 2012 2:07 AM
1Hey Kimmy and welcome to Thorn Tree!
I can tell you something about Plitvice, but first of all I should point to this TT-thread for newcomers.
Two weeks in a stretched out and strangely shaped country like Croatia is not very much. Travelling from place to place is slow, apart from the overprices domestic flights.
Please clearify your circumstances for this trip
- Is this part of a bigger European or Balkan journey?
- How, when and where are you entering and leaving the country?
- Do you have a car at your disposal?
- What do you mean by 'the sights': mainly natural parks or also architecture and museums?
It makes sense to make Plitvice your main destination, as it is truly fantastic. The most important thing though, is entering the park as early as possible. Having a tent makes things a lot easier in Croatia, as there are not too many budget places to stay. The only transport passing by the park is the Zagreb-Zadar bus taking the old road (not the new gleaming highway). Problem is: this takes 3 hrs from both Zagreb or Zadar.
I was there in the summer of 2011 and went from Trieste in Italy to Zadar, underway visiting the island of Cres and the Plitvice park. We took one day to hitchhike to Plitvice from Cres island and spent the night with a local host. She drove us to the park before 8 am. There was hardly anyone else and we only bumped into the huge groups of Koreans, Americans and Japanese when we were nearly down at the lowest lake, at 12.30 pm. I this way we avoided most of the crowds and even had the park to ourselves for some time in the early morning. I had been there before in the middle of the day on another occasion, and this was so so much better.
We still hitchhiked to Zadar in 2 hrs the same day, so it was kinda perfect.
Oct 22, 2012 7:17 AM
2Hi there and thanks for the welcome!!
This is not part of a bigger trip, we are taking it slow as i now have a 9 to 5 job and holidys are limited, gone are the days when i could go travelling for months on end :(
We are looking to enter in Zagreb and possibly leave from Spit or Dubrovnik, but as yet that is still undecided. There will not be a car for us to use and as for the sights we want to see, we have ordered with Lonely Planet guide for Croatia and will go from there.
Our primary intention is to see the lakes and we will want to do a lot of walking. I would guess that we will spend 2 days or so in Zagreb exploring then head straight to the lakes and from there either to Spit and then Dubrovnik, but until i have the book to look through it i am unsure.
I was mainly just looking for ideas from 'real' travellers and not just the touristy routes. We are not at all about the package holidays and wondered what others found the highlights of their trips. I always find that peoples personal experiences are better than any guide books.
Oct 23, 2012 2:47 AM
3Ah, I know what you mean :) Went on a four month trip for my graduation. Now with a fulltime job it's impossible to do those things. But still, in a few weeks you can have a marvellous time in a marvellous country like Croatia.
Where would you be flying from? Dalmatia (the Croatian coast) has good links with London Gatwick and London Stansted. In my experience Croatia Airlines are waaay overpriced, usually. But September should still be in time to catch summer only flights by easyJet, Ryanair and Germanwings.
Why do you want to fly into Zagreb? It's a big airport in the region, but not many lowcost airlines fly there. Also, the city is not often loved by travellers. I found it to be a place that tries very hard to conceal it's not really a capital.
You could consider flying to Pula or Zadar, both on the coast. These airports have direct Ryanair connections from London STN. The latter is conveniently located for going to Plitvice (just as far from the park as Zagreb). Germanwings offers a connection LHR/STN to Rijeka with a transfer in Cologne/Bonn. Perhaps use Skyscanner to find a convenient flight for yourself.
Also, cross reference this with the English Wikipedia. They have an entry on every airport in the world, listing the destinations. Sometimes it's a little outdated, though. According to Wikipedia, Ryanair flies from STN to Rijeka, but this is not the case anymore.
The Zadar area is magnificent and the city itself very very pleasant. And not as touristy as, say, Dubrovnik. The city has some Roman ruins and a sea organ, unique in the world. Plitvice is 3 hrs away by bus. There are 3 other National Parks: Krka, Kornati and Paklenica. In the former you are allowed to swim in a lake under a huge waterfall, unlike Plitvice. Paklenica is a river canyon that's ideal for trekking and even some mountaineering. Kornati is an fantastic park full of unspoilt islands, reachable by boat trip from for instance Zadar.
Pula is perhaps far off if you want to go to Plitvice and Dubrovnik.
I would fly into Zadar, spend some 3 or 4 nights there (maybe visit Krka and Kornati), then take a bus to Plitvice in the evening. There is a campsite close to the main entrance - so should be easy to enter as early as possible (leaving luggage is no problem because they have huge lockers that should be able to fit two backpacks).
After that, find your way to Split, spend some time there. On your way, perhaps Knin is an interesting stop over. Knin is really off the beaten track and a strategic town in the Balkan war.
From Split you could consider taking a boat (Jadrolinija is the biggest ferry company) to Dubrovnik. Not sure if there is a direct connection, but it's probably not a punishment to spend a night on one of the islands between Split and Dubrovnik.
Final question: have you ever hitchhiked? It's very doable on the coast in Croatia. On my 2011 trip we covered all distances by hitchhiking.
Oct 23, 2012 12:03 PM
4I think two weeks is a great amount of time and never considered getting around an issue on my three trips, but I do agree with ostkreuz that you'll need to pinpoint a bit more what you want to see, and then get more specific help here.
Definitely try to fly into Zagreb and out of Dubrovnik (or vice versa) if you can. Alternatively, a one-way flight can be quite affordable if you time its purchase right, and you can avoid having to back track that way.
I'm sure camping would be quite lovely (I saw a wonderful campsite at Jelsa on Hvar), but that means you have to schlep your stuff around and the campsites are often not conveniently located. With room renting being the norm in Croatia and quite a bargain, I would consider that instead. (It's been years since my last visit, so consult your LP for typical private room rates nowadays). It is so worth it to have a view and a kitchen to save money on meals.
I also suggest staying at least one night at Plitvice. After all, you have the time and that way you get to enjoy the park in morning and late afternoon. Nice walks are to be found all over the country. I focused on islands so I'd often just set out walking along the coast.
I often made use of "garderobas" to store my pack and never had a problem, but I would always carry anything valuable on me.
I actually liked Zagreb, and if you are planning on visiting Plitvice it makes sense, but if you have no interest in Zagreb you can get to Plitvice from Zadar or Split.
Have fun perusing your book and then let us know what appeals to you. For what it's worth, the smaller places like Vis and Lastovo have been highlights for me, but I am also very fond of Korcula and it gets its fair share of tourists. It is such a beautiful country.
Edited by: Veta
Oct 23, 2012 4:12 PM
5Have to agree with most what Veta is saying!
In 2007 I stayed on a campsite near Split, because at the time there was no hostel in the city yet (or they were all booked up, perhaps). It was quite a distance from the city and we couldn't spend time in night life at all because we had to catch a bus.
On islands and at Plitvice I guess it should be quite ok. In Zadar and Split it migh indeed be better to look for an apartment.
Nov 1, 2012 6:02 AM
6Hi to both of you, thank you so much for your comments and suggestions, we are going to really reseach where we want to go soon, but i will defo take on board your commments about Zagreb as there are so many places to see and we could also come back if we really want to see Zagreb.
I love the coast and the water so some islands may be an idea, but until i look into it more i am unsure of what we both want to do as we will have to both be in agreeement, but i know what you are saying abotu the camping so i will investigate more.
Thanks for now and once i have a better idea i will come back and see how it goes :)
Nov 6, 2012 6:29 AM
Just a couple weeks ago my family and I did a two week vacation through Croatia.
It was beautiful! I'm sure you are going to enjoy your trip greatly.
May I suggest you start in Zagreb then go down to Dubrovnik.
What we did was:
I would recommend staying just outside the Old Town in Zagreb. It's cheaper and being walking distance from the Old Town is great.
What we did after staying in Zagreb, is took a bus down to Plitvice Lakes National Park.
It was breathtaking! You are going to love it!
We left our bags at a nearby hotel before exploring the park.
It was free to leave our bags there, even though we didn't stay at that hotel.
May I suggest staying in a town nearby instead of the hotels backing onto the National Park.
Once again it is cheaper.
We stayed in a very small town just outside the National Park called Smoljanac. I would recommend staying at "Apartments Ana" in Smoljanac. The owner was very nice and accommodating. There is also other small apartment/hotels in the small town.
I'm not sure about camping at Plitvice Lakes, but that would be really cool!
Then we took another bus over the mountains (and through a mountain!) to Zadar. That bus ride was beautiful!
Zadar was very nice and quite touristy. It is a very safe town. I would recommend taking the local ferry over to the island of Preko. It was very peaceful and relaxing.
Split was my favorite city. If I were you I would stay for two or three days. One day is definitely not enough to explore the whole town. I would recommend seeing Diocletian's Palace, it truly is amazing!
Hvar was beautiful. We took a ferry (through Jadrolinja ferry lines) to Hvar. I think three days in the main town of Hvar is plenty. It is really quiet and also very touristy here.
Dubrovnik was amazing. I would say that you need four or five days to see the whole town. Walking along the Old Town's wall is something you would have to do if you go. It was the highlight of my stay in Dubrovnik! The cable car is also very scenic but expensive. It's worth the money though once you get to the top! You can see all the way to Montenegro.
I hope you have an amazing time travelling through Croatia. It is a very clean, safe and beautiful country!
(0 star Hotel)
From US$16.51 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$155.29 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$113.27 per night